My favorite public Invisible Woman of the cinema has trouble:
When I very first started blogging 2 years ago, I was stunned to find out that people would repost, or take an idea of mine, and write it as their own, with not even a smidgen of acknowledgment to me. And some of the sites were very big and well read. I didn’t know whether to be flattered that people were taking notice and imitating, or be pissed off. What can you do anyway, as the internet is not like the bookworld, with copyrights and things?
My somewhat reliable instincts inform me that whatever I write here will not really bring relief. So I’ll expectorate anyway—which is exactly the irony I’m looking for… My situation as a Blog writer is quite different. This is what I mean from 2005:
You see, reader, the professional public persona appeals to the voyeuristic sickness of its targeted audience. The goal is to trick the readers into thinking that they discovered a voice of unbiased innocence or to convince the reader that they have gained privileged access to an expert specialist. The reader is then seduced into thinking that they are condescending to a questioning inferior or ascending to the expertise of a specialist, exploiting the discovery for their own needs.
My decision to “sabotage” my chances at becoming a ‘professional public persona’ here in the Blog-o-sphere, is a systematic, cathartic (arguably self-indulgent) move that avoids the wonderful “problem” that our Invisible Woman has. But for my mental health I must admit that many of the subjects broached in this Blog space are not even permissible to talk about in my so-called “personal life.” It is not because these subjects are profane. It is because they are not.
There are hundreds of items saved here that have nowhere else to go—this is either a revelation of my ultimate uselessness or a strong statement of the kind of society in which I “live.” The great thing about information technology is that we have tools to measure how others out there are faring in the “real world”—others who may have a voice similar to mine. These measurements add to my swagger that ambles toward continuing what I am doing—in spite of the lack of feedback and “popularity.” Assuming that my archiving techniques work, my children—at least—can look at my work and have a deep understanding of the kind of bleak, empty, bankrupt world I lived in. They might even be wealthy enough to weep for me—not because I’m their father but for the poverty of the world…
When an attempt is made to become a “pro” Blogger self-censorship can become an ironic form of madness—ironic because these “clean” dudes are wont to call me crazy. Once the public statements become somewhat sanitized, then they are quite easy to copy. Once an interview of a relatively famous person asks relatively tame questions (by my “wacky” standards) then this interview can be copied. My “artistic” intent and my natural-born personality prevent these kinds of copies from being made. I am certain that the Invisible Woman is more than capable to stop this kind of copying.
Leo Laporte is my poster boy of a “mainstream” podcaster and Blog publisher. Yet he has been quite candid and very open at times. He has been so personal that some of his content cannot be copied without the effort of editing. It is important to me mention this guy as a partial role model for folks like the Invisible Woman and others in the Black-somewhat online world. In my opinion, when Blacks in public and private decide to “clean up” their “act” for a larger audience of potential fun and profit, my peoples tend to overdo it.
And, of course, part of their over-zealous “cleaning” is to steer clear of accused dysfunctional “angry” Blacks like me. I actually want “my” ideas to be copied—but you have to work hard to find the value and make the copy. So far, most peeps take it easy and move on… this is why I am still very, very impressed with the folks over there at liberatormagazine.com that sample me (with full credit) from time to time.
And a note about popularity: just look at the depth and length of the feedback given to me by the anonymous Ann in “The Jewel Woods ‘Black Male Privilege’ Checklist.” I would be a guilty, obsessive-compulsive wreck with just two people responding to my work with such detail. I would not be able to respond in kind to this level of attention—so it is strangely a kind of relief to been watched from the distance most people maintain from me in the online world. When I was a kid, I saw Richard Dreyfus on TeeVee explaining just how horrible being famous can be. He seemed so sincere and earnest that I took to heart every word he said.
My Black history lessons show me two things:
- One, being famous can get you killed by petty jealous white supremacists who are ashamed to compare themselves to Black people in front of their women and children. This death is often literal.
- Two, fame is a byproduct of imperial captivity (imperial “civilization”). It is a deep, deep error for a so-called “Afrocentric” person to take fame seriously as a universal, eternal absolute when it should be treated like a 5000-year-old fad. In the Old Kingdom, ideas were the celebrities. Ideas, anthropomorphized in stone…
Note: Photo of Richard Dreyfus by Alan Light.